8. Tattoos and travel…finding my “something”

When I was 25, I traveled to Colorado with some friends to see the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, Garden of the Gods, Red Rocks, Boulder, and other amazing sights.  The ten-year anniversary of my mother’s death had just passed and although I was happily living in Boston, surrounded by great friends, something was off. I was at a place in my life where I was searching for something.  I didn’t really know what that ‘something’ was but I was pretty sure I would find it in Colorado.

Before leaving, I not only decided on the places I needed to see on my trip, I also decided on the things I must accomplish. The first thing that I needed to do was find a very special place with a babbling brook where I could sit on a rock and listen to the sounds I was sure would help me find the “something” I was looking for.


                                                 Me and my babbling brook, Colorado 1997

The second thing I was determined to do while there, was to finally get the tattoo (my first) of a “tribal seagull,” inspired by the book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull.  Before my trip, my good friend, Leah gifted me a special journal with an inspirational dedication page that featured the sketch she had drawn of my tattoo. It was before the time of Google, so I flew west, not knowing where I was going to get this meaningful ink.  However, I did know that like my babbling brook, I would find it and it would bring me closer to the “something” I needed to discover.

After many days witnessing the beauty of Colorado, I finally found my babbling brook. One of my traveling companions snapped the shot you see above and then left me to sit, think, and listen to the sounds I so needed to hear.  When they picked me up later that day, my friend, Eric was carrying a local paper with an ad for a tattoo parlor called Bolder Ink in Boulder, which was the next town we would be visiting.


The following day, journal in hand, the cutest tattoo artist you ever saw tattooed my tribal seagull on my right hip.  Placement of a tattoo is very personal.  For me, the most important thing was that I would be able to see my tattoo, since it was for me and no one else.  Once it was finished, I looked down and smiled.  It was as if my feathered friend had always been there.  Both this bird and my visit to the babbling brook brought me peace and gave me the “something” that I needed…something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  I returned to Boston refreshed, energized, and content.

Just this past April, I celebrated my 45th birthday by taking a trip to visit friends in London and Paris and by getting my second tattoo.  After a difficult stretch of years that included the loss of my sister and my divorce, I had to again begin the search for the “something” I needed to bring me back to life again.


The twelve days spent abroad were incredible.  The places I visited and people I met, were like the soothing sights and sounds of the babbling brook I had found in Colorado twenty years before.

Those who love to travel will understand when I share David Mitchell’s quote, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” There is so much beauty in our lives, yet sometimes one must travel far enough away from it to really appreciate it.  Somehow, visiting new places and meeting new people is just the refocusing tool needed to return to your own life with the “something” you need to be happy.

After returning from my trip, I knew exactly what tattoo I needed to get–a lotus flower. It was the perfect symbol to remind me of all the beauty in the world that persists no matter how difficult life may get.


I will always love to travel and dream of going many more places in this great big world.  But for the times when I cannot get away, I will just look down at my wrist with that perfectly beautiful lotus flower and know that the “something” I need is right there within me.


                  My lotus flower tattoo and an important message I need to remind myself often

Peace and love ☺♥










3. Hitting my stride…with a little help from my friends

Ok, so as I begin post #3, let’s recap. Cliff notes summary: I rediscovered the things that bring me joy and found myself again with the help of Amazon Prime and standing up to my ex. With those big events out of the way, I felt it was time to set up somewhat of a routine for the future of this blog.

So far, I have gotten great feedback from my first two posts. Two of my friends, Jenn and Leah, both old friends from my days living in Boston, reached out with great pieces of advice. Both of these women have known me since I was in my twenties. They have seen me at my best and worst and I know that while we may no longer live in the same city, they are always there for me and vice versa. Today, Jenn lives nearby in New York and Leah lives on the other side of the world in New Zealand.


My old Beantown roomie, Jenn has always been my “in the know” friend. Quite the traveler and music buff, she’s one of those people that you can have an engaging conversation with on nearly any topic. She is one of the most generous people I know and also happens to be the best cook ever! I still dream of the beer-cheese soup and mouthwatering dish simply titled, ‘Cheese-Thing’ that she would make for us. I’m grateful she and her husband live nearby, as they have become my Broadway show and concert buddies. I’m looking forward to seeing the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play and the Bare Naked Ladies concert with them this spring! Maybe Jenn will bring a thermos of Cheese-Thing with her for a pre-play or concert snack!  A girl can dream…


As a blogger herself, Jenn suggested that I have themes each week to guide my posts. I loved the idea and am excited to do just that beginning with this week’s theme: The Quirks of Daily Routine. This theme presented itself to me when a friend from the neighborhood posted an interesting question on social media:

“Do you do sock, sock, shoe, shoe or sock, shoe, sock, shoe?”

As you can imagine, her question caused quite the stir and the responses were hysterical…well, maybe not so much for my friend.  But more on that in my next blog entry which will likely be called, Sock, sock, shoe, shoe.


  *Disclaimer:  The above is not from my friend’s post and does not represent the opinion of this blog.

I met my friend, Leah while working at the Boston Hard Rock Cafe on Clarendon Street.  Yes, among my many talents, I am also a damn good waitress and slinger of Hard Rock “pig” sandwiches and sizzling fajitas.  I have perfected my YMCA after much practice of standing on tables in my short, white dress embroidered with my name and chock full of collectible pins across my chest.

 hardrock2  Rita, one of the original Hard Rock waitresses, wearing the white dress I used to  wear.  My dress was shorter and tighter.
     The Hard Rock Cafe Boston in its original location on Clarendon Street.

Leah, who we affectionately called Kiwi, had moved from New Zealand to live near her brother in the states. She was hired as a hostess and we immediately hit it off.  Although she was 6 years my junior, Leah had an old soul. Life had handed her some difficult challenges yet she was never jaded by any of them. She had the purest heart and when she gave you a hug, it was one of those hugs that radiated the love she had for you.  Her hugs are second only to my daughter in my history of best hugs. Yes, I keep track of that kind of stuff.  Don’t you?

Many a night, after a long shift at the Hard Rock, Leah would come back to my apartment and we would stay up late talking about life, listening to music, and unwinding with a beer or a smoke.  I shared my writing and she shared her artwork.  She actually drew up the “tribal seagull” I described to her which would become my first tattoo dedicated to my favorite book, Jonathon Livingston Seagull.  I often thought that Leah knew me better than anyone else as she was able to read my mood without a word being spoken.

For these reasons, I was eager for her to read my blog because I knew she would understand just how important it was to me.  Her words of advice to me, after telling me how happy she was and how she had enjoyed the posts?  Keep going…I am looking forward to seeing the blog and your thoughts evolve.  With those words, I was up to the challenge to keep writing.  I made the decision that whether I had 1 reader or 1,000, I would use this blog to continue searching for my purpose, passion, and love of life.  I am hopeful that one day my travels will take me to New Zealand so that I may experience the beauty of the country and my dear friend’s warm embrace.


So, with help from my two life-long friends I have mapped the course for this blog.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them.  Tune in next time as we answer the incredibly deep life question:  Do you do sock, sock, shoe, shoe or sock, shoe, sock, shoe? I promise not to “drag my feet” and complete it as soon as possible!  Sorry, had to end it with a ‘corny’ joke!

Peace and love 😊❤️

1. Why am I here? What is MY gift?

Do you know the answers?  Why are you here?  What is your purpose? Do you know your passion?  What do you love to do?  While I have experienced glimmers of some answers to these questions, I am still searching.

Image result for purpose

Before you read any further I must warn you—I am a lover of figurative language.  I love my metaphors and similes and enjoy dabbling in analytically awesome alliteration.  See what I did there?  So here goes—Life’s a journey, right? You move along the path of life (like in the board game but without the pink and blue pegs) headed for a destination, whether it’s temporary or long-term.  Some people have a very specific plan as to where they are going and have an internal map and detailed itinerary to guide them.  But when they get there, they often realize that they may have missed out on amazing sights and experiences.  Filled with regret they wonder, ‘What was the big rush, anyway?  Should I just head back and visit some places I missed along the way?’

Others live more spontaneously, taking side trips, without any expectations or deadlines for their destination. They don’t use maps and they don’t ask for directions along the way.  But these travelers often spend so much time on their journey that they forget their final destination and having grown weary from their travels, wake up one day feeling lost and uncertain of the future.  Wrestling with fear they ponder, ‘Did I use my time the best I could?  How can I get back on track and make up for lost opportunities?  If I had followed others on the path, would I be more successful and fulfilled now?’

“There is only one map to the journey of life and it lives within your heart.”  -Willie Nelson

If I had to put myself into one of these two categories, I would be in the latter group. My life so far has been filled with beautiful sights and loving people but the road has been littered with much tragedy and loss.  I won’t make excuses.  My path was never a perfect one.  But each time I lost an important person in my life to heart disease, to Alzheimer’s, to cancer, it was like I broke down on the side of the road and needed repair. Luckily, the strong people in my life showed me how to persevere and rise above the difficult times.

Over the last year I have been working hard to get back to the place I need to be and the first step of my journey involves reminding myself of the things that bring me joy, those things that guide me toward a life of purpose, passion, and love.  To get there it was necessary to start this blog because my first joy was writing.

Writing has always been special to me.  It’s always been the one thing I knew I was “meant” to do…the one thing that brought me pure joy and satisfaction. When I was in elementary school, I discovered this joy. I would spend hours happily creating poems and short stories and then eagerly share them with anyone who would listen.  After losing my mother at age 15, writing was my escape and my therapy as all the emotions I held inside could only be released via a pen and journal.

In my early twenties I discovered my second joy-travel and my journal recorded every new site, sound, and feeling that each new place I traveled to would bring.

When my daughter was born in my early thirties, I found my most monumental joy-motherhood.  Being a mother had always been a priority to me and as a ‘motherless mother’ I seized and continue to seize each moment to make new memories with my daughter.

So far each decade has brought me onto the path of a new joy.  Amidst the heartache of each decade, I have discovered friendship, love, and laughter.  The great joy of my forties is still unknown although one could say that my commitment to health and happiness is a strong contender. The chapter is still unfinished and I am hopeful that there are still joys left to be discovered and celebrated.

Image result for richard bach quotes

I love this quote and the author, Richard Bach. The quote can be seen from so many perspectives.  Are we the clouds and the sky is our path to follow?  Or are we the sky filled with the various clouds in our life…stormy, dark clouds of difficulty and loss and fluffy, white clouds of happiness and love?  Either way you see it, Bach wants us to know that the key to our journey can be found, if we only look in the right place past the barriers that block what is most important. I look forward to sharing my search with you and learning about your gifts, purpose, and passion.

Who do you think we are-the clouds or the sky?  Have you discovered your gift yet? 

Peace and love ☺♥